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Quick Pilot Guide: Airport and Airspace Operations

Quick pilot guide for Airport and Airspace Operations helps pilots understand their role in an impressive network.

By Kevin LashleyPublished 5 months ago 5 min read

If you are new to aviation or have been training at a relatively quiet regional airport, the busier airports and airways may seem somewhat intimidating. Furthermore, every pilot should appreciate the significant levels of skill, experience, and effort required in aviation. To help you understand these aspects, we have developed a Quick Pilot Guide for Airport and Airspace Operations. As a pilot, you will quickly discover that your role and capabilities are crucial in an impressive network that takes you to the skies!

The Aviation Network

Pilots, both recreational and commercial, collaborate to ensure safe skies and ground operations with aircraft. In addition, numerous people behind the scenes also play a vital role in this process. Thus, the aviation industry is a big team composed of pilots, enthusiasts, and professionals, all of whom work together to manage a complex network of operations.

If you are curious about who else is part of this industry besides pilots and control tower operators, you will find our Quick Pilot Guide for Airport and Airspace Operations very helpful. This guide will give you insights into what makes the aviation sector an incredible place to be. Whether you are just started to learn to fly or have been in the industry for a while, you will surely find the guide informative. So, let's look at some of the key players that make up this industry.

People Who Make Up The Aviation Industry

Pilots – This is you! Without pilots, there isn’t an aviation industry, so people like you are critical for the life of aviation.

Flight Instructors – Instructors are responsible for training the next pilot and the one after that. It’s their experience, knowledge, and know-how that are crucial to aviation. This creates a fun, aviation-loving pilot who is knowledgeable and responsible.

Schools, Clubs, and Organisations – People with common interests come together in various groups. These groups can be based on a particular area of aviation, such as floating hulls or bush flying, or they can be a flying club or school where members enjoy aviation and learn together. These organisations consist of passionate pilots and aviation enthusiasts who are great people, and they all welcome new members to join them!

Domestic and Commercial Airlines – Airlines are important for moving volumes of people from A to B. This could be within regional Australia or internationally. These airlines provide a fantastic career choice for aspiring pilots, from small commercially-chartered aircraft to large international flights.

Air Traffic Control – ATC monitors aircraft movements and provides directions and instructions to pilots and other crew members.

CASA – CASA stands for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the overarching government body regulating aviation safety in Australia. They’re responsible for pilot licensing, aircraft registration, safety, awareness, and implementing legislation.

Airservices – These are the people who manage 29 air traffic control towers, two major air traffic services centres, and 27 aviation rescue fire fighting services. They also provide a website that provides NAIPS data (National Aeronautical Information Processing System) – you’ll be using this for your weather information later on.

Other Aviation Roles

We haven’t even scratched the surface regarding how many people make airspace and airports work. We could cover engineers, mechanics, flight crew, security, airfield operations, administrative people, airline managers, airport managers, and even meteorologists – and we could go on!

On a commercial airline scale, there are vast amounts of people, roles, teams, and departments that are required. These people make aviation move like clockwork, and they’re also responsible for sorting things out whenever there’s a hiccup. As we said, aviation is a world of people working together, and we all play a part!

Managing Air Operations

In the air, things can happen relatively quickly, and different aircraft have different speeds, wakes, and requirements. For example, an international airliner costs a lot of money to run, and they want to avoid delays. Similarly, emergency aircraft need to take priority over other aircraft, such as recreational and general aviation aircraft. To manage this, the skies are sectored into different classes of operation. Below is a list of the primary classes in Australia and what they are used for.

Class A: This high-level en-route-controlled airspace is used predominately by commercial and passenger jets. Only IFR flights are permitted, and they require an ATC clearance. All flights are provided with an air traffic control service and are positively separated from each other.

Class C: This is the controlled airspace surrounding major airports. Both IFR and VFR flights are permitted and must communicate with air traffic control. IFR aircraft are positively separated from both IFR and VFR aircraft. VFR aircraft are provided traffic information on other VFR aircraft.

Class D:  This is the controlled airspace that surrounds general aviation and regional airports equipped with a control tower. All flights require ATC clearance.

Class E: This mid-level en-route-controlled airspace is open to both IFR and VFR aircraft. IFR flights are required to communicate with ATC and must request ATC clearance.

Class G: This airspace is uncontrolled. Both IFR and VFR aircraft are permitted, and neither requires ATC clearance.

Restricted airspace: In restricted airspace, aircraft movements are reduced to those with certain specified permissions. CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation is responsible for restricted airspace. Examples include airspace around military installations, high-density flying operations at an air show, or other large public events. Restricted airspace may also be imposed by police for safety or security reasons near bushfires or major crime scenes.

Need more?

Where Will I Learn More About Aerodrome Operations, Rules and Regulations?

If this Quick Pilot Guide: Airport and Airspace Operations wasn’t enough, we’ve included some links where you can start. This is going to be some pretty dry reading, but these are the standards, legislation and requirements that are to be upheld by all aviation professionals alike. Even if you’re heading from a recreational angle, we still operate from the same fundamental goals and safety objectives.

Civil Aviation Act 1988 – This is the actual legislation. This documentation forms the basis of CASA’s regulations and how they are to be enforced.

Manual of Standards – The MOS itemises the standards to be upheld at all certified and uncertified aerodromes.

Advisory Circulars – Each AC is intended to elaborate on certain rules or standards to give advice and guidance on how to meet the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs).

Civil Aviation Orders – CAOs are published by CASA, which cover areas such as marshalling and parking aircraft and precautions in refuelling, engine and ground radar operations.

Whether you’ve just started your flight training courses or are a seasoned pilot, knowing how airports and airspaces operate is a necessary part of being in the aviation industry.


About the Creator

Kevin Lashley

He writes in several genres. Kevin and his wife, Julia, to whom he dedicates all of his published works, and their dog, Buddy, live in Melbourne, Australia. A regular contributor to New Path Web Morning Edition.

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